Saturday, December 7, 2013

Save Time Cleaning On The Holidays

Christmas is just around the corner. You know what that means? That means MESSES will be made! Messes of fun, food, wrapping paper, trash, broken ornaments, you name it. While I think that all of those messes are beautiful, something that isn't so beautiful is cleaning them. Let's face it. No one likes to spend tons of time cleaning during the holidays. We'd rather be enjoying it to the fullest with our family and loved ones. Am I right? My hopes is that this post will give you some tips and ideas on ways to clean efficiently without sacrificing the time to do it. Instead of worrying yourself to death over every piece of gift wrap that gets strewn and every dish that gets dirty, you can breathe a little easier, relax, and spend more time with your family.

It's hard to keep a house clean all the time. Especially if you have more than two people living in it. Everyone is different. Everyone has different personalities. Some people are messier than others. It's just a fact of life. These things happen. I've conjured quite a few tricks and tips up my sleeve that I hope you'll give a try. :)

  • Straighten up the house BEFORE you go to sleep. I know that this can sometimes be a daunting task, but you will not regret it once it's done. This way, when you wake up on Christmas morning, everything will be all straightened up and ready to go so that you can fulfill whatever holiday things you'd like to do instead of spending the whole morning putting stuff where they go in order to enjoy the things you'd like.
  • Put dirty dishes immediately in the dishwasher, not the sink. If there's something I cannot stress enough, it's this. At the end of the day, you won't have large stacks of dishes ready to overwhelm you. Sometimes, there is nothing worse than being wore out at the end of the day and looking at a sink filled with crusted food on plates, half eaten bits of food, chunks of food in the sink, and a nasty smell wafting from the kitchen. We are very fortunate to have a dishwasher that is currently working. If you aren't, try quickly washing your plate, glass and anything else that you ate off of. It really doesn't take that long in all actuality. If you have children that are old enough to wash their own dishes, MAKE THEM. Do not do their dishes for them. They will learn nothing that way. They will find that it really doesn't take as long as they thought it would. Also, when you're cooking holiday food, it makes the clean-up soooooo much easier if you fill up the dishwasher and throw things away as you cook. 
  • Make your Christmas Day breakfast and/or meal in advance. This will save lots of time and effort. If you always are the cook in the house and are generally expected to make nice Christmas meals, than this is a wonderful thing to do. Find easy, but delicious, things that you can make in advance. That way, once all the presents have been opened and everyone is playing with their things, all you have to do is put your food either in the microwave or oven. And, presto! You don't have to worry about sweating and cooking over a hot stove on Christmas Day for an hour or two. Since you made all of your meals in advance, you also will have no kitchen clean-up to do. Sounds like a win-win to me!
  •  Spot clean areas. You can spot clean your floors, counters, etc. Since it's the holidays, there really is no reason why you should mop your house all the time. It's just going to get messy anyways with all of the cooking, celebrating, company, and gift unwrapping. Once the holidays are over, that will be the time when you can mop until your heart's content. For right now, just focus on making sure that there aren't any visible spots on the floor or anywhere. What this does is trick the human eye into thinking that you've just mopped the floors for their arrival. All you have to do is grab some paper towels and 409. Not only is 409 a great de-greaser, but it is an extremely effective cleaning tool. You don't even have to get down on your hands and knees. What I do is spray the spot and put a paper towel on the floor and rub it with my foot until I've got the icky place up. I continue to do this until the paper towel is dirty and the floor is visibly clean.
  • Have all of your Christmas clothes picked out days before you're going to wear them. Ok...I know that this sounds a little crazy, but it really does work. Let's say you are going to your Grandmas, your other Grandmas, your Aunt's, and a Christmas party at church. That's quite a few outfits. You want to look cute and festive. The reason why it's so important to pick out your clothing several days in advance, is because you may need to wear something to a Christmas party and you realize that you had just worn it. You have no time to wash it and end up picking out something that you're not as comfortable in. I've actually done this a LOT. It's so important to pick your clothes out in advance. It may sound a little control-freakish, but it really does help. I've been in the boat of oh-no-I-have-nothing-to-wear! It's good to know what you're going to wear so you won't wear it before it's time for you to. Otherwise, it will be stuck in the dirty clothes hamper all lost and forgotten. It will come up to the day of the actual event and you'll suddenly remember with regret that you had just worn that piece. This doesn't necessarily have to do with cleaning, but it's an extremely helpful tip, I find. 
  • Do not do any deep cleaning the week of Christmas. Do not deep clean at all on the week of Christmas if you can help it. You'll just get so tired by the time it's time to enjoy yourself. Save those awesome deep cleaning powers for after the holidays are over. Focus on the here and now. Holidays are special. It's a time to spend with your loved ones and remember the whole reason that we are celebrating Christmas--Christ. He is the reason why our Christmases are so beautiful. 
  • Get all of your washing done the week before Christmas. I know that this can be extremely daunting, tiring, and dreadful. It really will be worth it when you look in your hamper and realize that there could have been a lot more clothes to wash if you hadn't worked your rear off trying to get everything washed the week before. It's all about dealing with as less stress as possible. The holidays are no time to start being stressed. Being stressed can ruin a lot of wonderful things. In our family, there are 5 people living in one house. That's a lot of clothes! You have 5 pairs of socks, 5 pieces of clothing such as pants/jeans/, shirts, under garments, and anything else they may wear that requires washing. It is important for us to have our washing done since there are so many of us. 
  • Make sure everything looks spotless the night before Christmas morning. This is very, very, very important. If you are a mom, you know what it feels like to have your kids wake you up and then you stumble out of the bed only to run into something in the kitchen or to see a sink full of dishes and spots covering the floor. You dread it the entire time. That's all you're focused on and it keeps you from enjoying the Christmas unwrapping. You realize that you have to clean all of the mess up....on Christmas of all days and you are just dreading it. All of that can be solved if everything is tidy BEFORE bed. You may be so wore out that you can hardly stand it, but it will be worth it the next morning. Never put off tomorrow what you can do today. :) 

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